Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Campaign & Other Stuff

Apparently my track record of posting to this site has been pretty piss-poor. Maybe I’ll change that. No promises.

At the moment, I’m actually not running my own D&D campaign, which is a rarity for me. After a 6+ year D&D 4th edition campaign, I needed a rest. So one of my players, after much guilt tripping and cajoling, stepped up and he is running a D&D 5th edition game.

First, my super-condensed, ultra-rapid opinion of D&D 5e. Overall, I like it a lot. It successfully combines some of the best features that I enjoyed from 1st, 3rd, and 4th editions (I was never much of a 2nd edition fan). The math seems to have been nicely tamed, but I can’t speak authoritatively on that until our characters get into the higher levels. I do miss some of the ways that characters progressed in level in 4e, and that edition will always occupy a special place for me. But 5e is solid, and it’s quite obvious that Wizards of the Coast took the development very seriously.

So what am I doing now for gaming? In addition to playing in the aforementioned D&D 5e game, I’m now running a Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition campaign of my own original design. It’s a (for now) low-power sort of Smallville meets Arrow meets The Flash meets X-Files kind of thing. Even though M&M 3e is based on a familiar system (it’s an OGL, D&D 3.5-based system), there are enough radical departures from the core d20 rule system that I’m still in that awkward, brand-new lovers stage with the game: I like spending time with it but I’m always afraid I’m going to do or say the wrong thing.

I have never been very artistic or inclined in the sorcerous ways of graphic design. Like the skilled and mysterious operators of 4th of July incendiary displays, graphic designers and artists are a group I mostly admire from afar with equal parts neolithic awe and raw terror. But, with new my M&M game I have dipped the very tip of one toe into extremely safe and shallow waters by designing a simple logo for the (fictional) semi-governmental agency Labyrinth in my campaign world. To wit:


Where said logo is found, the mysterious and ostensibly benevolent organization known as Labyrinth is often nearby.

As a side note, I must give great credit (“mad props”?) to Lone Wolf Development for their software packages Hero Lab and Realm Works. As a lover of language, my very favorite thing about Lone Wolf is they did not cave to the societal pressures of camel case. It seems like everywhere you look CompaniesAreMashingTheirProductNamesTogether, and camel case has gone from a clever conceit to worn-out, middle-aged sex worker who people don’t understand and are embarrassed to look at directly.

That said, Hero Lab and Realm Works (most gratefully not HeroLab and RealmWorks) are bringing a lot to my M&M campaign. Character creation in M&M is…can I call it labyrinthine? Hero Lab dramatically eases the burden, AND also helps manage combat. Those fruits are already being enjoyed. But the fruits of my Realm Works tree are not yet ripe and succulent, and not ready to be put to parched lips. More on that at a future date.

So I’ll end here. I’m working on said M&M campaign world in said Hero Lab even now.

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